this weekend, I felt an urge to clean.
Anyone who knows me is probably surprised by this, because I am the messiest person in my house (or any house… or dorm room… or any room). I tend to hold off on cleaning until I absolutely have to. Like, until you can’t see the floor in my room messy.
So me choosing to clean doesn’t exactly happen. But all my roommates were out of town, I didn’t have a field trip or any pressing work to do, and I felt the need to be productive. So I went for it. Cleaned the kitchen Saturday night, and the living rooms Sunday.
It’s simple, ordinary work really. I had the time and a house to myself, free of distraction and of people coming and going. It was just me and my music and some out-loud talks with Jesus about all the things.
I scrubbed the stove,
I swept the floors,
I wiped windows and doors,
I washed dishes and organized pots.
All ordinary work, usual chores from the chore chart. But I think sometimes the Lord speaks most clearly through those little, ordinary acts of obedience. It’s through the ordinary that the extraordinary comes through, if we’re paying attention.
While cleaning the living room on Sunday, I was listening to a Holy Week playlist on Spotify (from Sacred Ordinary Days– so good). A thought popped into my head about Spring Cleaning– when we transition our homes from winter to spring, thoroughly deep cleaning our homes to prepare for the light of spring to come.
While spring cleaning wasn’t really my intention this weekend, it kind of ended up happening– I opened up the curtains and let the light in as I swept and scrubbed and cleaned from head-to-toe, letting the bright sunshine from the 80 degree day bathe the room in its light.
I was sweeping, singing along to the music playing from my speaker, when a voice popped in my head. I heard a quiet whisper:
this is what I’m doing in you, too. you are being cleaned and made new.
I couldn’t help but scratch my head a little… huh? What the heck? I’m being cleaned? From what?!?
Then a verse (a favorite of mine) popped into my head:
“But forget all that—
it is nothing compared to what I am going to do.
19 For I am about to do something new.
See, I have already begun! Do you not see it?
I will make a pathway through the wilderness.
I will create rivers in the dry wasteland.”
“Watch closely: I am preparing something new; it’s happening now, even as I speak,
and you’re about to see it. I am preparing a way through the desert;
Waters will flow where there had been none.”
(Isaiah 43:18-19, NLT and The Voice, respectively)
He is doing a new thing. But in order to do a new thing, I’ve learned, we have to take care of the old.
To do all that changing and making things new, we have to clean out the old ways, thoughts, and images I have in my head and move the new things He’s doing straight into my heart.
So I started thinking about all the things in my life… in my heart that need cleaning. And together, Jesus and I are beginning to change those things– a lot of the things, I learned, were things we’d been conversatin’ about the night before while cleaning the kitchen. (I’m glad I used that time to pray and be productive, Jesus!)
So we clean.
We scrub all the old thoughts, ideations, and excuses away;
We sweep the dust from the past out from under my feet– and into the trash, where I can’t keep looking for it;
We wash off the dirt and grime of overthinking and overanalyzing every word and action;
We shake off the feelings of inadequacy, loneliness, and not being good enough;
We dust off the worries and fears of the future, the uncertainty of what’s next;
We have to usher out the old habits– the old ways I try to control my circumstances, the old places I go to for help and comfort (food, Netflix, isolation– the list goes on, people) and the old things I run to where I don’t want to run to His arms (people pleasing, striving, running away from my problems…again, Jesus has never been my first place to run to, y’all).
Notice this is all in present-tense. Because… I suck at all of these things. I am nowhere near complete at this process. Hell, I’ve barely started having more conversations about this stuff with Him– this is the stuff of me and my therapist (and maybe a few people in my inner-circle, but even that’s not so much these days).
But alas, He wants me to be a new thing. Just like everything with me, this is a work in progress. Barely even that– it’s merely the beginning of the cleaning process. I haven’t yet to figure out what or how he wants me to clean all these things (and actually do this thing called life), but at least I’ve heard him say that this is what He wants of me. And today, that’s enough to at least get the job started.
So I’m slowly beginning this cleaning process, albeit begrudgingly. Remember, cleaning is not my forte nor my favorite pastime (understatement of the century). Especially this kind of cleaning– the kind where I have to go deep into my own mess and the muck and try hard to get it cleaned. Because these messes? They aren’t surface-level. They’re deep and filled with muck and grime and cobwebs, where I’ve put them off in the corner to be forgotten or left them for dead. But like the spring cleaning of the house, this cleaning must be done, too. Because this is what the Lord has called me to do. Just like I had an urge to clean the house, he is nudging me towards this cleaning and remodeling of myself and my ways.
He wants me to be the best version of who He’s made me to be; in order to do that, I have to clean out who I was and who I’ve been, and start to let him make me new and clean and shiny again.
This isn’t just a one day kind of cleaning, I have a feeling (sigh). It’s going to be a process. It’s not an easy process. I hate hard things, y’all. And long things. Especially when they have to do with me and all my baggage and mess. There’s going to be a lot of sweat and work involved, I’m sure. Tears too, probably. But at the end of today, I got to rest and relax in a clean house, comfortable and content. I had done what I needed to do, and that
was enough. That’s what he wants in my life too– for me to rest and relax in who He’s made me to be. But to get there, I have to do this spring cleaning within me. Out with the old, in with the new– it’s not just a thing we say, it’s an action we take.
But he promises he’ll make things new if I do this cleaning thing. He’ll bring beauty from the mess, if I let him into the middle of it. He promises he’ll make a way for me to get through, even though this cleaning process is probably going to be long and dark and unsure. He promises a way. He IS the way.
It’s time to let Him do a new thing in me.
It’s time to open up the windows let the light flood in.
(was introduced to them via the Holy Week playlist linked above. I.love.them.)